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School board OKs general fund budget

June 29, 2007|Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education on Thursday approved a $6.2-billion general fund budget for the coming school year.

The unanimous vote came after the seven board members peppered Supt. David L. Brewer and other school district officials with questions and concerns during lengthy debate that spanned two meetings this week.

The budget, which calls for the reduction and reorganization of several programs and departments in the mammoth school district in order to close a $95-million shortfall, still must be certified by county education officials. And until the state Legislature finalizes California's budget, which includes most of the funding public schools receive, allotments are still somewhat tentative.

Faced with growing public criticism, Brewer relented somewhat on a proposal to recoup nearly $5 million by charging after-school youth groups to use district athletic fields and facilities. He agreed to lower the fees that will be imposed and to use a sliding scale so groups that serve low-income children pay less.

Brewer also scrambled to appease some board members' concerns about his proposal to reduce at midyear the number of teachers assigned to those schools where student enrollment drops. To help administrators keep staffing levels stable at such schools, Brewer agreed to free up some so-called restricted funds and to allow schools to put aside money at the start of the year.

joel.rubin@latimes.com

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